Scaling up challenges discussed at Stratford event

Press Release

Published on 30 May 2023
Archived on 30 June 2023

Innovative and high-growth businesses in South Warwickshire came together at a roundtable event to discuss the challenges and barriers to scaling up in the area.

The event was part of the established Driving Innovation and Growth programme, designed to inform the economic growth agenda in South Warwickshire.

Stratford-on-Avon District Council, the Coventry and Warwickshire Growth Hub and the University of Warwick invited companies to debate the difficulties to building high-growth businesses, the opportunities for scale-up and the support available in the area.

Currently, there are around 30,000 scale-up businesses generating £1.2trn for the UK economy which represents 50 per cent of the small and medium enterprises across the UK economy.

Irene Graham OBE, CEO at the ScaleUp Institute, led the session at Stratford-on-Avon District Council alongside CW Growth Hub Chief Executive Officer Craig Humphrey following the success of the first Driving Innovation & Growth Summit in February.

They were joined by Cllr Susan Juned, the new leader of Stratford-on-Avon District Council; Peter Husband, Chief Operating Officer and Group Principal at WCG; and Ian Sterritt from InnovateUK Edge, along with a range of businesses from South Warwickshire.

The roundtable on Scaling Up focused on the specific challenges to encourage growth which had been identified at the inaugural Summit and the expert advice that is needed to take companies to the next level.

Skills and access to finance were amongst the most critical issues raised. However, businesses also highlighted the complexity of the support eco-system for SMEs and stressed the importance of a single point of contact - such as the CW Growth Hub - to help navigate it.

Cllr Susan Juned, who is also Liberal Democrat leader at Stratford-on-Avon District Council, said it had been an interesting and informative session.

She said: "There was a great response from over 70 businesses who attended the Driving Innovation & Growth Summit earlier this year and it was felt it was vital to carry on the conversations as well as provide practical, high-level advice on supporting high-growth businesses in South Warwickshire.

"There were really important discussions at the roundtable from businesses in different sectors throughout South Warwickshire who gave an honest appraisal of the barriers which are preventing their further growth.

"Skills was a major area of concern which could be addressed by joining up with education providers such as WCG to equip students with the skills that businesses need, along with the importance of having a single point of contact in our area to navigate a complex eco-system to highlight the business support that is available.

"Local authorities need to look into the future, at issues such as Net Zero, as well as manage the present but there were some key points which we will now go away and hold further discussions on so that we can help companies in South Warwickshire expand and grow."

Craig Humphrey, Chief Executive Officer at the CW Growth Hub, said it had been fantastic to have Irene Graham OBE attend the roundtable to give her expert advice to help South Warwickshire businesses put their high-growth plans into action.

He said: "The roundtable event highlighted that support for scale-ups has to happen at a local level because of the local expertise and knowledge that is required for owners and senior managers to easily access.

"We have some brilliant innovative businesses in the sub-region and at the Growth Hub we want to know what we can do to support the ambitions of companies to realise their full potential.

"That's why it is vital to host events such as this to talk to businesses to help them plan for their future because of the benefit it brings to them and their employees but also the wider economy.

"There are still far too many businesses across our region that are not aware of who we are and what we do and therefore a key theme for me from the session is that we need to signpost businesses to our one-stop-shop for business support and ensure that new innovative businesses coming to our area are made aware of the fantastic support that is available."

Scaling up challenges discussed at Stratford event

From the left, Craig Humphrey (Coventry and Warwickshire Growth Hub), Cllr George Cowcher (Stratford-on-Avon District Council), Irene Graham OBE (ScaleUp Institute), Cllr Susan Juned (Stratford-on-Avon District Council), and Tony Perks (Stratford-on-Avon District Council).

Contact details

Stratford-on-Avon District Council
Elizabeth House, Church Street,
Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire,
CV37 6HX
Tel: 01789 267575

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Last updated on 15/06/2023